* Net income up 6 percent
* Results benefit from ABA acquisition in May
* Provision for credit losses drastically reduced (Adds analyst comment, further details on earnings)
TORONTO, Aug 31 (Reuters) - National Bank of Canada reported a 6 percent increase in quarterly profit on Wednesday, benefiting from a recent acquisition that enabled it to beat market expectations.
Canada’s biggest banks have reported higher-than-expected results for the period. All six were able to drastically reduce provisions for bad loans because a partial recovery in the price of oil helped clients in the energy sector repay debt.
National Bank of Canada’s provision for credit losses fell to C$45 million during the third quarter ended on July 31 from C$317 million at the end of the previous quarter.
Canada’s sixth-biggest lender said net income rose by 6 percent to C$478 million ($365 million) from a year earlier, benefiting from the acquisition of Advanced Bank of Asia in May.
Earnings per share of C$1.31 beat the analysts’ average estimate of C$1.20, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
However, Barclays analyst John Aiken said he believed core earnings, excluding the ABA contribution, were just 1 Canadian cent above the consensus estimate.
“In comparison to peers, the results do not appear to be as strong,” he said, “and despite an emerging positive story on capital, we do not expect to see much relative outperformance in the shares.”
Net income rose by 5 percent to C$203 million in the bank’s personal and commercial division and by 5 percent to C$80 million for the wealth management business.
The bank, which raised C$300 million through a share offering last October, said its core tier 1 ratio, a closely watched measure of financial strength, stood at 9.9 percent at the end of July, up 10 basis points from the quarter before.
$1 = 1.3105 Canadian dollars Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by W Simon and Lisa Von Ahn